A Happy Ending After All

The last few days I’ve been trying to get in touch with one of my buddies at Nationwide to find out a little bit about the candidate management picked over me for the college underwriting position. Today I found out the winner was an underwriter for one of our business partners that I spoke with and worked with on a daily basis.

You see Patrice (the winner) is 40 years old and is the main bread winner in her family with a husband and an eight year old daughter. She left Hartford Insurance six years ago to take up employment with our business partner and things just didn’t pan out the way she planned. Over the past six years things began to get steadily worse for her to the point where she was miserable and she was grossly underpaid to boot.

During our daily chats during the winter and spring I told her that I thought she ought to put her resume out and test the waters as she had a lot to offer. Today I called Patrice up to wish her the best of luck in her new job with Nationwide and she said “Jim I just can’t thank you enough for giving me the confidence to put my name out there and because of you I have a new job at Nationwide”.

I just couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I was her main competition for the underwriting job she landed. I am glad for Patrice and her family as they are all excited to move to Ohio. Patrice and I have never met each other, but once she gets settled we plan to have lunch ! Isn’t life a hoot sometimes ?

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On Pins And Needles In Columbus

Tonight there is a profound sense of unease in Columbus.  Republican and Democrat, old and young, Deadhead or Justin Bieber fan — it makes no difference.  We all fret about what will happen tomorrow when the Ohio State University goes before the NCAA Committee on Infractions to address the issues with the football program.

The feeling of grim foreboding hangs over the city like a rancid fart in an elevator.  The brooding paranoia has been stoked by our friends at ESPN — boy, they love the Buckeyes, don’t they? — who have issued a weird report about a second letter from the NCAA concerning potential additional areas to investigate.  And so, people are wondering:  what else could have happened?  Were some of the Buckeye football players actually mutant genetic products created by crazed researchers in the Ohio State School of Biology?  Did Terrelle Pryor secretly maintain a fleet of untaxed corporate jets in a locked hangar at Don Scott Field?  Was Jim Tressel’s sweater vest actually made in Taiwan?

Sometime tomorrow people will appear before microphones at NCAA offices in headquarters and say that the hearing is over, and then we will wait.  We will wait to see whether the NCAA accepts the retirement of our outstanding coach and OSU’s self-imposed punishments as sufficient penalties for the Buckeyes’ transgressions.  Or, whether the NCAA cuts out our hearts, stomps on them, and then stuffs them down our throats by cutting scholarships, banning the Buckeyes from post-season play, or imposing other, even more draconian sanctions.  Now we know how Anne Boleyn must have felt as she waited in the Tower of London for the capricious decision of her King.

We care because this is Columbus, and this is who we are and what we do.

Will Anyone Watch, And Does Anyone Care?

Tonight the eight declared Republican candidates for President will debate in Iowa.  The debate is nationally televised on Fox News.  Will anyone watch, and does anyone care?

The lead-up to the debate is filled with the kind of phony urgency that sets my teeth on edge.  The Reuters story, for example, notes that the debate is two days “before an Iowa straw poll that will test the strength of their campaigns” and breathlessly adds:  “With less than six months remaining before Iowa holds the first presidential nominating contest in 2012, time is running short for candidates to begin making up ground.”  So, let me get this straight:  the debate may affect the outcome of a non-binding “straw poll” being taken six months before delegates will be selected?  Could someone explain again why this debate is so crucial?

The constant, creeping advancement of the campaign season is always ludicrous, but this year it is offensive.  Our economy is in the dumper.  Our national credit rating just got cut.  We’re fighting in ill-defined conflicts across the globe.  Millions of Americans are out of work.  Our budget deficit is out of control.  In short, we’ve got lots of important stuff to worry about — much more important than whether Michele Bachmann’s showing makes her the presumed Iowa front-runner or whether Rick Santorum should throw in the towel.  At this point, I couldn’t care less.

A Cool Morning’s Glory

Imagine our delight when Penny and I stepped outside at 5 a.m. this morning and it was . . . cool.  Magnificently, delightfully cool!

After weeks of oppressive temperatures, scalding days and hot, sticky nights, the cool, fresh air was glorious to experience.  I’m guessing that the overnight temperature had dipped into the mid-50s.  It was like a shot of some ultra-powerful energy drink to feel the slight chill on the skin and hairs on my arms.  We moved quickly through the crisp air, our pace keeping us comfortably warm, looking with pleasure at the stars and constellations etched brilliantly in the dark, clear skies.

By the end of the walk, with rose-fingered dawn just peeking over the eastern horizon, I happily realized that, for the first time in weeks, my shirt was not wringing wet with sweat at the end of our walk.  After our journey through the welcome chill, my hot cup of coffee tastes especially good.